I remember Mrs. A with fondness. She was my public school music teacher and the first person to tell me that I could not sing. Oh, she did not say it in those words because she was a lovely lady and a good music teacher, but the message was there. I went to a rural, one room school and she travelled from school to school to teach music. One year, all the schools were being assembled for a grand performance. There was to be individual talent as well as a junior choir and a senior choir. I would be in the senior choir. When she was at my school she started a song with us and then walked down the rows listening to each person. After listening to me, she said, “You will be included in the choir but just mouth the words.” Message: You can’t sing! (Rebel that I was, on the night of the performance, I sang anyway)
She’s not the only one to hint that I can’t carry a tune or get the right key. There have been several since and although I enjoy singing, I must admit that I can’t sing. Maybe the better wording is that I can’t sing well because no one can stop me from singing. I always appreciated Psalm 100:1 in the King James Version: “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands”. I figured I could do that!
I knew an older gentleman in our congregation who never sang a hymn for the entire time that I knew him. He always said that if he tried to sing it would throw everyone off, including the song leader. While I thought it humorous in my youth, I think of it with some sadness now. He did not understand that it has nothing to do with the quality of our voices but the praise for God that flows from our hearts.
Psalm 100 begins with a “call for praise and joyful service. People everywhere should shout to the Lord; they are not to be subdued in their praise of Him.” (Bible Knowledge Commentary; WordSearch 7) The Psalmist goes on to say, “Worship the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs” (verse 2, NIV 1984). The psalmist then explained why we raise our voices in praise and thanksgiving. He said we need to recognize our Lord as our God, as our Creator and as our Care Giver (Shepherd). We are to sing and be happy because we are His and He is good, loving and faithful.
Psalms 96 and 98 are very similar in thought. Psalm 96 begins:
“Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth. Sing to the LORD, praise His name; proclaim His salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, His marvellous deeds among all peoples.” (NIV 1984; emphasis mine).
This psalm talks about the reign of the Lord and the Psalmist called on people everywhere and even all of nature to praise God because He is so great.
Psalm 98 tells us to
“Sing to the LORD a new song, for He has done marvellous things; His right hand and His holy arm have worked salvation for Him. The LORD has made His salvation known and revealed His righteousness to the nations.” (NIV 1984).
Again, in this psalm the writer called all the earth to sing and praise the Lord who reigns, because He has done marvellous things by His great power.
These three Psalms suggest there is much for which to give thanks. God is majestic and worthy of our praise. For us, His saving work through Christ Jesus is enough for each one of us to have a song on our lips every day. 1 Corinthians 1:20 tells us,
“For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him. That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory” (ESV).
Albert Barnes wrote the following concerning that verse:
“The promises of God which are made through Christ, relate to the pardon of sin to the penitent; the sanctification of his people; support in temptation and trial; guidance in perplexity; peace in death, and eternal glory beyond the grave. All of these are made through a Redeemer, and none of these shall fail.” (Barnes’ Notes on the New Testament; WordSearch 7)
Praise God! Sing! God wants to hear songs of praise from all His children.
Can’t carry a tune? Doesn’t matter.
Off pitch? He does not care.
Wrong key? Sing anyway.
While God deserves our best, some of us don’t have the talent to sing well but join with me in making that joyful noise for He has done marvellous things! He deserves joyful praise from all of us.